Archive for May, 2010

Here’s my second piece from The Indy this week, on Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a joyously terrible tribute to Hitchcock’s The Birds.

When I spoke to the director, he told me “Hey, birds, y’know, they’re just scary!” Indeed. See what you think by watching the real thing: for Londoners, there’s a screening at the Curzon cinema in Soho on May 28. For the rest of you in the UK, further screenings are likely to follow.

As before, please click through to the original site to read the whole piece.


Birdemic, a tribute to The Birds, is the latest in a long line of terrible Alfred Hitchcock remakes. Why does the master of suspense inspire so many turkeys?

When the apocalypse comes, Hollywood has taught us to expect something terrifying: an alien invasion perhaps, or a vampire virus. But in Birdemic: Shock and Terror, it is heralded by the arrival of badly animated vultures, whose cheery massacre of the population of California is about as scary as a shark attack on SpongeBob. 

 Birdemic, a 2008 tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, is fast joining the ranks of Plan 9 from Outer Space, The Room and Troll 2 as one of the most joyously ill-conceived films of all time. Across America, audiences are flocking to cinemas to see its stilted acting, piecemeal editing, and shambolic special effects. The birds, which were created by student animators, look like something out of an Eighties video game, hanging limply in the air as petrified onlookers bat them off with coat hangers.

James Nguyen, the film’s director, insists it is not a remake but a project “influenced” by The Birds. But the plot, which revolves around an attractive young couple who fall in love before the ornithological nightmare begins, is almost identical and the film is littered with trademark Hitchcockian devices: the seemingly irrelevant back stories, the overbearing mother. Like his teacher, Nguyen even delays the arrival of the birds for almost an hour to build suspense, although he does so with a romance so agonisingly dull that we’d quite like to see its protagonists pecked to death.

 Please click here to keep reading.


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Apologies for the lack of new posts recently but I have been scribbling away on pieces for The Independent. The first of two this week – which was inspired by my post below, Harry Potter and the Americanisation of British Film – begins below. Please click through to the Indy website to read the whole piece.

And look here on Friday for my second piece, on Birdemic, a remake of The Birds, and other terrible films inspired by Hitchcock…

Robin Hood is the latest British movie made with US money. Can our film industry survive without help from Hollywood?

Robin of Locksley, an Englishman through and through, has been brought to life on screen by more than 30 different men. Some Robins have been brooding, some dashing, and some dressed in unnervingly snug tights. But fewer than half have been British.

Today, Russell Crowe reprises the role in Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. The film, marketed as grittier than its predecessors, boasts a British director, a British producer and was filmed in the UK. But it also has two Australian stars, an American backer (Universal) and a script penned by an American, although this is understood to have been given an extensive polish by Tom Stoppard.

So is it really a British film? And what do we mean by that?
Click here to keep reading.

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